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What is a Trimester?
 
Understandably, there are many questions regarding the evolution from the two (2) semester format to our current trimester format. The following Q & A section will answer many of your concerns. Please feel free to contact us if you have any remaining questions or thoughts.
 
  1.  What is a trimester and how is it different from our former semester format?
  1.  Until the 2007/08 school year, the school calendar was divided into two (2) semesters lasting eighteen (18) weeks each. A trimester system divides the school year into three (3) terms of approximately twelve (12) weeks.
 
  1.  How does the school day change under the trimester format?
  1.  Under the semester format, students experienced six (6) classes lasting fifty-four (54) minutes each during the school day. Under the trimester format, students experience five (5) periods lasting approximately seventy (70) minutes each. The total length of the school day should not change as a result of the format change.
 
  1. How will instruction time increase for year-long classes?
  1. By adding fifteen (15) minutes to each period under the trimester format, a year-long course (one scheduled to meet for all three terms) will gain an additional forty-four (44) hours of in-class instructional time; this is equivalent to more than one additional month of school! (See the chart below for a comparison.)
 
 Format
Days per Year
Minutes/Day per Period
Instructional Minutes/Yr
Instructional Hours/Yr
Three Terms
176
70
12,320
205.3
Two Semesters (old)
176
55
9,680
161.3
 
 
 
Additional Hours of Instruction
44.0
 
 
Q.   Will ALL classes meet for three terms, to take advantage of this 25% increase of instructional minutes?
A.    No. Each high school department has assessed its courses in light of the new State of Michigan graduation requirements, curriculum requirements, and MME/ACT expectations. Each department has determined which of its course offerings need to be 1-, 2-, or 3-term courses in order to meet these new State requirements. For example, most of the social studies and English department courses are either 1- or 2-term classes, while many of the math and science department courses are 3-term classes.
 
Q.   What are the advantages of the term format for students?
A.    There are many advantages for students in the trimester format, including:
 
·         The flexibility to offer courses in one-, two-, or three-term segments (these will vary by department);
·         The reduction in the number of daily classes from six (6) to five (5). This translates into more focused homework, fewer courses to keep track of, and less overall stress;
·         The ability to increase elective opportunities made possible by offering 7.5 credits per year;
·         The 25% increase of in-class instructional time provides enrichment opportunities for 3-term courses such as Advanced Placement, honors, fine arts, math, and some selected science courses;
·         The opportunity for immediate credit recovery for certain one (1)- and two (2)-term courses;
·         The scheduling of final exams prior to – rather than after – winter and spring school breaks;
·         The more efficient alignment of trimester terms with the fall, winter and spring athletic seasons.
 
          How do Terms Impact Graduation Requirements?
 
Q.    Are credits the same with terms as they are with semesters?
A.    For Holly High School credits, each term equals 0 .5 credits. Therefore, a one (1) term course equals 0.5 credits, a two (2) term course equals 1.0 credit, and a three (3) term course equals 1.5 credits.
 
To meet the State of Michigan credit requirements, each term equals 0 .5 credits for one (1) and two (2) term courses only. However, each term equals .33 credits for all three (3) term courses. Therefore, a three-term (year-long) course equals one (1) State of Michigan credit.
 
Q. Will graduation requirements increase under the term format?
  1. Graduation requirements are determined by the Holly Area Schools Board of Education. While the Board will determine a “conversion factor” as we move from semesters to trimesters, there are no immediate plans to increase graduation requirements beyond the total percentage of credits currently required. For example, the chart below shows the previous number of credits required for graduation (22), compared to the credits required for classes graduating under the trimester system beginning with the Class of 2008. While the total number of credits increases, the last line illustrates that the relative number of credits - or “Pass Rate” - required for graduation should remain at approximately 92-93%.
2007
CLASS
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
12.5
Required Credits
12.5
12.5
12.5
18.5
18.5
9.5
Elective Credits Required
11
12.5
14
9.5
9.5
22
HHS Graduation Requirements
 <- Semesters                Trimesters ->
23.5
25
26.5
28
28
24
Total Possible Credits
25.5
27
28.5
30
30
0.92
Pass Rate
(Percentage of Possible Credits)
0.92
0.93
0.93
0.93
0.93

 
Q.    Will next year’s juniors, and seniors have additional course specific requirements for graduation? For example, if I am currently a senior or junior who has not earned credit in Algebra II, what should I do?
  1. The new MDE graduation requirements begin with the Class of 2011. Returning seniors and juniors must meet the graduation course requirements established as of the 2006/07 school year. No additional course specific requirements have been added for the Classes of 2008, 2009, and 2010.
 
  1. How do trimesters affect my grade-level status?
  1. The following chart identifies the number of credits required to officially become a member of each respective class during the transition to the trimester system. Class status is determined at the beginning of each school year and is based on the number of credits earned prior to September 1st.
 
Credits required upon entering each class
Class
2009
2010
2011
2012
Freshman
0
0
0
0
 
 
 
 
 
Sophomore
5
5
7
7
Possible Credits
6
6
7.5
7.5
Pass Percentage
83%
83%
93%
93%
 
 
 
 
 
Junior
10
11.5
14
14
Possible Credits
12
13.5
15
15
Pass Percentage
83%
85%
93%
93%
 
 
 
 
 
Senior
17.5
19
21
21
Possible Credits
19.5
21
22.5
22.5
Pass Percentage
90%
90%
93%
93%
 
 
 
 
 
Graduation
 
 
 
 
Possible Credits
27
28.5
30
30
Graduation Requirement
25
26.5
28
28
Pass Percentage
93%
93%
93%
93%
 
 
Q.   What would a “typical” 4-year class schedule look like for an incoming freshman?
  1. The following samples represent typical class schedules an incoming freshman will experience during four years of high school. However, variables such as successful course completion may alter the samples below. The most dramatic deviation from the following samples will result from failing a course that is State of Michigan or Holly Area Schools mandated for graduation. For example, a student failing Algebra I (or other required courses) may “forfeit” his/her elective class in lieu of placement in an additional math support class or may be required to repeat the course during the next term.
 
Class of 2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sample Student Schedules
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Freshman
 
 
 
 
Sophomore
 
 
 
 
A
B
C
Cr
 
 
A
B
C
Cr
1
English 9
Elective
English 9
1.5
 
1
American Lit
Elective
American Lit
1.5
2
Algebra I
Algebra I
Algebra I
1.5
 
2
Geometry
Geometry
Geometry
1.5
3
Biology
Biology
Biology
1.5
 
3
Elective
Essential Chemistry
Essential Physics
1.5
4
Elective
World Geography
World Geography
1.5
 
4
US History
US History
Elective
1.5
5
PE
Health
Elective
1.5
 
5
Elective
Elective
Elective
1.5
 
 
 
Credits
7.5
 
 
 
 
Credits
7.5
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Junior
 
 
 
 
Senior
 
 
 
 
A
B
C
Cr
 
 
A
B
C
Cr
1
Elective
Literature & Lang
Literature & Lang
1.5
 
1
English
English
Art
1.5
2
Algebra II
Algebra II
Algebra II
1.5
 
2
Elective
Math Related
Math Related
1.5
3
Physics or Chemistry
1.5
 
3
Art
Elective
Elective
1.5
4
Government
Economics
Elective
1.5
 
4
Elective
Elective
Elective
1.5
5
Elective
Elective
Elective
1.5
 
5
Elective
Elective
Elective
1.5
 
 
 
Credits
7.5
 
 
 
 
Credits
7.5
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4-Year Total Credits
30
 
Why Trimesters?
 
Q. Are certain events pushing Holly Area Schools toward trimesters?
A.   There is no mistaking the impact of the Michigan economic downturn on the Holly community, on Oakland County, and on the State of Michigan. The long term trend that continues to supplant basic manufacturing jobs with technology-based and service economy jobs has led to three significant and substantial changes in how the State approaches public school education. All three changes become effective for students entering ninth (9) grade in fall 2007, the Class of 2011:
 
    1. Beginning with the class of 2011, the State of Michigan has identified sixteen (16) required courses that all students must successfully complete to qualify for a high school diploma. The significance for Holly Area Schools is that these new course requirements in turn require new flexibility in how the high school structures its courses, especially in the area of credit recovery opportunities.   See the chart below for the class of 2008 graduation requirements.
 
Michigan Merit Curriculum
High School Graduation Requirements
Math – 4 Credits/Courses
   Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, One math related class in senior year of high school
English Language Arts – 4 Credits/Courses
   English Language Arts 9,10, 11, 12
Science – 3 Credits/Courses
   Biology, Physics or Chemistry, One additional science course
Social Studies – 3 Credits/Courses
   Civics, U.S. History and Geography, Economics, World History and Geography
Physical Education & Health
   .5 credits of Physical Education and .5 credits of Health
Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts
   Any qualifying Fine Arts courses totaling 1 credit
Online Learning Experience
   An approved online learning experience
 
    1. The State of Michigan has modified its curriculum content standards (called “benchmarks”), described in great detail in the “Michigan Curriculum Framework,” which can be found on the Michigan Department of Education website (http://www.michigan.gov/mde/). The significance for Holly Area Schools is that these new standards call for greater content and skill knowledge than ever before, especially in the areas of science and math. This in turn leads the high school to contemplate both increasing in-class instructional minutes in certain subject areas, as well as enhancing elective and enrichment opportunities. The goal is to meet these new state requirements while also servicing the needs of the wide variety of students who attend Holly High School.
 
    1. The State of Michigan has replaced the former high school MEAP test with a new Michigan Merit Exam (MME) test. This is the test given to juniors that determines both Holly High School’s standing with respect to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, as well as Michigan Merit Award scholarships of up to $4,000 that can be used to help pay costs in attending a state university, community college, technical school, or trade school. The core of the MME test is the standard ACT test. The ACT test (which will be paid for by the State) has traditionally been thought of as a college-bound test, but the State of Michigan – as well as the Holly Area Schools Board of Education - has now made this exam mandatory for high school graduation. The significance for Holly Area Schools is that the MME/ACT Exam calls for significantly greater content and skill knowledge than the previous MEAP test, and this has also led to significant changes in our curriculum. For example, ALL students will now be required to demonstrate mastery of argumentative essay writing in both English and social studies; this is a curricular requirement that did not exist prior to these changes.
 
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